Title IV-D Child Support Court
Child Support Courts
The child support courts were created in response to the federal requirement that states create expedited administrative or judicial processes to resolve child support cases. The child support court associate judges are appointed by the presiding judges of the administrative judicial regions. The program is administered by the Office of Court Administration.
Office of Court Administration employs 44 associate judges and 43 administrative assistants to hear and dispose of Title IV-D child support establishment and enforcement cases and paternity cases within the expedited time frames established by Chapter 201.110 of the Texas Family Code. The Office of the Attorney General provides purchasing and on-site technical (computer) support.
The child support courts program is funded with federal and state funds. The Office of Court Administration receives the funds through a cooperative agreement with the Child Support Division of the Office of the Attorney General. The existing agreement authorizes the Office of Court Administration to expend approximately $5 million annually to operate the program. Of that amount, approximately 66% comes from federal funds and the remainder comes from general revenue appropriated to the Office of the Attorney General.
Title IV-D Child Support Program in the Seventh Administrative Judicial Region
The Title IV-D Child Support Program started in early 1987 Midland County. Honorable Weldon Kirk, Presiding Judge for the Seventh Administrative Region appointed Honorable Matthew Blair to serve as a Title IV-D Master, with Ana O’Bryant as the court coordinator to handle Midland County along with multiple counties in the Seventh Region.
In 1992, Latricia Morris was hired as Court Coordinator for all of the other counties. Ms. O’Bryant continued to handle Midland County until 1998. At that time, Honorable Dean Rucker was appointed as Presiding Judge for the Seventh Administrative Region and Ms. O’Bryant became the full time Court Coordinator for the Region. Ms. Morris and Ms. Kathleen Morphis assumed Ms. O’Bryant’s duties for all the Title IV-D Child Support Court counties.
In 1998, due to distances between counties, Associate Judge Blair was appointed by Honorable Stephen Ables, Presiding Judge for the Sixth Judicial Region, to handle Upton, Terrell and Pecos Counties. Associate Judge Blair continued serving Midland, Martin, Howard, Dawson, Lynn, Garza, Glasscock and Borden, all of which are in the Seventh Region.
In 1999, the position changed titles, instead of Title IV-D Master, the legislators changed it to Title IV-D Associate Judge. In 2001 Kathleen Morphis left the program and Ms. Morris assumed her duties. Associate Judge Blair retired in September, 2015 after 28 years as Associate Judge in the Title IV-D Child Support Court. In October, 2015, Honorable Karen B. Lewis was appointed by Honorable Dean Rucker as the Title IV-D Associate Judge. Ms. Morris has stayed on as her court coordinator.